Here’s a new recording of Horace Weston‘s Celebrated Polka (sheet ♫), which I wanted to try a different approach to. The first one I did was classical style with rubato laid on thick. This new one is ragtime flavored.
It makes sense that that you could do either way, considering that Weston was part about European art music and part about American vernacular styles like minstrelsy. In his time people thought that the euro influence was automatically better, in our time it’s maybe the other way around (at least if you’re more into rock/blues/jazz/disco than classical) but this one guy managed to integrate them. And if this composition sounds more snooty highbrow euro than rube yank, keep in mind that it was written for banjo not guitar.
The main theme has a swirly mood like a lady getting dressed up to go out.
The second theme has colorful and daring harmony for that time and place.
The third theme is a jig, as in an irish jig.
And the last bit of the third theme would sound perfectly at home in a 1920s jazz or blues tune:
(Code for indexing into sections of the video courtesy Splicd.com).
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